A Drag Queen is more than just a man in a dress spouting insults in a dive bar. A Drag Queen is an entertainer, a stand-up comic, a costume designer, a make-up artist, a performer and an ambassador to all things queer. Although this may come as no surprise to some, drag as an art form is just now finally being legitimized. RuPaul’s recent Emmy win for outstanding host of a reality or reality competition series is the ultimate testament of that. When RuPaul’s Drag Race first aired, it was dismissed as a satirical reality competition series; a Frankenstein of many reality show formats (Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model, American Idol, to name a few) blended into one for all to hate-watch. It stood as the underdog of reality television, which is in itself the most thankless of all television formats.
How the show ever made it on the air to begin with is mind-blowing, but what took everyone by surprise is how quickly it gained popularity, and how viewers wholeheartedly embraced its characters and their craft. RuPaul’s Drag Race will always go down in history as the show that exposed the ART of drag to the general public, and it’s about time. Drag is nothing new: it has been on the outskirts of pop culture for generations. The fact that drag is currently inching its way towards the proverbial mainstream, however, is something that everyone should celebrate and be proud of, not just the LGBT community.
Drag is the ultimate barometer of a society’s open-mindedness. The more mainstream drag is; the more inclusive society is. Long gone are the days when men in drag were portrayed as having acute psychotic disorders (Psycho; Dressed to Kill), or as misunderstood outcasts (Pink Flamingos; Priscilla Queen of the Desert; To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything!; Flawless).
Drag Queens are now award winning, chart topping, multi-faceted artists, and that says a lot about us. There may be global warming, there may be terrorism and war, there may be a cataclysmic economic crisis, but we’ll be damned if we’ll judge anyone by their gender, sexuality or race. In celebration of that, Plastik is releasing this issue with five alternate cover pages, each featuring one of the best Drag Queens in the business: Alaska, Violet Chachki, Detox, Katya Zamolochikova and Kim Chi.
— Eli Rezkallah
Australian photographer Dean West meticulously constructs his images. In his older work, history and mythology were a major influence. These days he creates his own myths that are based on his own or friends’ memories that somehow got distorted over time. The essence is still there, but details changed. Just like stories change every time they are told
by someone else. In the end, you ask yourself: “what’s real?”
To Emma Hartvig, photography is all about the art of seduction. Greatly inspired by cinema, she carefully stages her Images, which not so much tell a story as hint at the bigger picture. They are like the opening paragraph of a book or film Stills that make you want to watch the whole movie. Based in Berlin, the young Swedish photographer has won numerous International awards and her work has been widely published.
Born in Rio, Carolina Mizrahi is a photographer and art director based in London. One of the main themes in her work is color. “I think you can say a lot through colors. It's a powerful communication tool specially when aligned with other visual signs. I like to play with the different meanings associated with each color.”
Born in 1985, Brent Eastbrook did art before becoming a dentist only to do an immediate u-turn and become an artist. If looking at teeth taught him one thing, then it is to follow one’s heart and true passion in life, for life is just too short not to! Brent’s paintings of toys, teddy bears and skulls are but two sides of the same coin really.
"In gay culture throughout the generations, we have used our wits and language as protection and armor against and oppressive mainstream world. We cut each other down to the core as a sign of respect and camaraderie, and top keep our teeth sharp. I say the rudest, most vile things to the people I respect and admire most deeply. Reading is a language of love, however it also a magic power that is to be used responsibly by people who have learned how to use it.”
"I'm not a dragtivist , but I am an actress , an activist , and a mother."
"I think it’s just easier to get away with things when you’re 8 feet tall and have 20lbs of makeup on."
“I like the transition of being in the spotlight then having the ability to blend in with the rest of the universe when i’m not on stage.”
“I’ve always been inspired by mysterious and intimating women that had a strong sense of self”
B Åkerlund, also known on social media as b completed, has built up a résumé as a stylist/costume designer that most People would die for. Her magnetic creations have been donned by the biggest names in the music industry including Madonna, Beyonce, Rihanna, and Britney spears, just to name a few, and yet, even after 24 years of hard work and notable Accomplishments, Åkerlund is just getting started. Rebranding herself a fashion activist, Åkerlund’s relentless passion
For the art form has fueled her with an undying sense of purpose, and led her to a vast array of creative projects that
Are bound to captivate and leave their mark.